Cell PRELIMINARY ESSAY.
The following day they proceeded on their march through the desert. On their arrival at a strong castle called KARAUL,' in a mountain defile, through the middle of which the road passed, the whole party was counted and their names registered before they were allowed to proceed. They then went on to SUKCHEU,2 where they were lodged in the great
Yam-Khana or Post-House, at the City Gate.
" Sukcheu is a great city, with strong fortifications, in the form of a perfect square.3 The bazars are without covering, and are fifty ells
in width, all kept well swept and watered. The people keep tame swine
in their houses, and in the butchers' shops mutton and swines' flesh are hung up for sale side by side ! In every street you see numerous edifices
surmounted by handsome wooden spires, and with wooden battlements
covered with lacquer of Cathay. All along the rampart of the city, at intervals of twenty paces,4 you find towers with the tops roofed over.
There are four gates, one in the middle of each of the four walls, so that
one directly faces another, and as the streets are as straight as can be you would think in looking from one gate to the other that it is but a
little way. And yet to go from the centre of the town to any one of the
gates is really a considerable distance. Behind [over ?] each gate there is a two-storied pavilion with a high pitched roof in the Cathayan
fashion, just such as you see in Mazanderan. Only in this latter pro-
vince the walls are plastered with plain mud, whereas in Cathay they are covered with porcelain. In this city there are a variety of idol
temples to be seen, some of which occupy a space of ten acres, and yet are kept as clean as possible. The area is paved with glazed tiles, which shine like polished marble."
From this time the party were supplied with everything by the Chinese authorities. They were lodged at the Yams or post-houses, of
which there were ninety-nine between Sucheu and Khanbalik, and every night found not only provisions but servants, beds, night-clothes, etc.,
awaiting them. At every yam they brought four hundred and fifty well caparisoned horses and donkeys for the use of the travellers, besides fifty or sixty vehicles. The description of these vehicles ('Ardbah) is a little obscure, but they seem to have been palankins of some sort, and were
Karâul means in Persian (probably of Turkish origin) a sentry, bard, or advanced post. The place here so designated is the fortified entrance of the Great Wall called Kia-yu-Koan, or Fort of the Jade-Gate, mentioned by Hiwen Thsang in the sixth century, and which was in the
latter days of the Ming the actual limit of the Chinese power (see supra, p. cxxxviii).
2 SUCHEU; see pp. 268, 581 infra; also Hajji Mahomed in Note XVIII.
3 A square is the typical form of royal fortified cities, both in China
and in all the Indo-Chinese countries including Java. It is, I believe, a sacred Buddhist form.
4 Quatremère has " twenty feet," but this cannot be. The word is Kadam, which means sometimes a foot, sometimes a step or pace.